Dr. Jason Azouley (Southern Miss) will present “Narrow Band Gap Conjugated Polymers for Emergent Optoelectronic Technologies” to the department.
Research in the field of organic semiconductors has allowed for the development of commercially relevant technologies such as organic thin-film transistors, light-emitting diodes, photovoltaics, sensors, molecular electronics, and biocompatible medical materials. Research efforts in industry and academia remain unabated in areas where energy (in the form of light, electricity or heat) meet a wide variety of molecular and even biological systems. Despite the achievement of significant technological milestones, conformational disorder has complicated the identification of design guidelines to control the band gap at low energies. This precludes interactions with infrared (IR) light, prevents the study of fundamental physical phenomena, and constrains the design and realization of new optoelectronic and device functionalities. Through the development of modular synthetic approaches and the extension of molecular conjugation via cross-conjugation, we have demonstrated the capability to systematically control the frontier orbital energetics (separation, position, and alignment), co-planarity of the conjugated backbone, intermolecular interactions, electron density along the main chain, and aromatic stabilization of the constituent copolymer segments. The utility of these materials towards developing a better understanding of pertinent loss processes, understanding the nature of the transient species in light harvesting applications, and the development of IR optoelectronic applications will be discussed. Such control has also resulted in novel physical properties, such as ground state electronics that can be manipulated, curie susceptibilities and conductivities that are higher than other neutral organic solids, novel collective phenomena, and unique electrical, optical, spin, and magnetic behavior. We anticipate that the combination of these unique aspects: modularity, novel physics, and easy manipulation will enable new optoelectronic and device functionalities that cannot be realized with current semiconductor technologies.